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tv   The Stream  Al Jazeera  March 22, 2014 2:30am-3:01am EDT

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what it's like to play in the lake. >> that's it for this edition of al jazeera news, i'm morgan radford. thank you for watching. >> welcome to aljazeera america. "the stream." >> lisa fletcher is out on a well earned vacation, and we have my man subbing in as cohost
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and digital d.j. in the show. and when we think of -- we mentioned who was going to be on the show. and daniel says, this looks awesome, i love indigenous humor: we want you to be part of the conversation tonight. so use the hashtag ajamstream. >> keep talking to my man, badar. native americans from a oklahoma. part political motif and part political satire. the 1941s are bringing indian humor to the world. they tackle stereotypes. >> it's not how it ended. and then they pull his heart out.
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>> umm shabai. oh. welcome to our store here. you'll find many american indian artifacts here to enlighten your spirit in that way. >> and feel free to check out our fine collection of turquoise jewelry made by the people of the washataw nation of tennessee. i went on a vision quest. and i humbly asked the raccoon to come to me and when he came, i killed him. >> they make fun of how others see them. but they're also quite critical of their own communities. >> do you guys got any books. >> i do, what are you looking for? >> i need stuff samplety. > sovereignty. >>
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animal speak, good book, talk with the families. we have the newest print of that. >> okay. >> have a good day, brother. >> so how does the perception of native americans today differ from reality? how is the role of comedy in social change? here's bobby wilson from the dakota tribe. ponca and writer, and last but not least, almost the entire gang is here. thank you so much for joining "the stream." bobby, to you first. i love super hero organ stories. and talk douse about how the band got together. >> in the year 194 1, right around december, actually, maybe the last day of december, we saw
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a ship coming in, and it had columbus on it. it was called the ninnia penta santa maria. and all five of us lined up along the cliffs there at plymouth rock and we pulled down our pants and we mooned them. and that's an old lakota greeting. >> and i'm sure that columbus was very happy with your people. and he discovered you people. >> that's right, he discovered us. >> and america apparently. but the online community has discoveries also. your videos have gone viral. and is it politically and socially conscientious goofiness on your part. >> yeah, some of it. but not all of it. some of it is just a bunch of out of shape guys shaking what our mothers gave us. >> out of shape guys shaking
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what mothers gave is universal. who is your ideal audience for your comedy if whoever does that, minority audiences, a lot of people and, does ethnic comedy appeal to audiences? it's very lakota languages. >> i don't even care. nobody pays us to do what we do, and so if we appeal to people, who cares? no skin off my back. i don't know, how do you feel? >> well, ryan. no, it's absolutely right. we don't have a budget for the things that we do, so we don't have anybody above us to tell us, this is not indian enough or funny enough. it's made for us. and because of that, we're the only people that we're trying to make laugh amongst each other.
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and the way it works out is great. but you know. >> dallas, we'll get you in the conversation, and for better or worse, america loves lumping and categorizing identities x. we're not comfortable, so would you identify yourselves as comedians who happen to be native americans or does it matter? >> lumps. i don't know, i don't like to think too much about it. but i guess native americans that do comedy and other things? i don't know, you decide. >> you guys are funny, what you are, and it seems that international audiences discover with a community. they're tackling the fact that they are choosing comedy. suzanne says that native americans have a voice in the country. and comedy makes it easier for people to comprehend social changes, especially when presented in a witty and clever
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fashion, so the question, bobby, for you, there are people like john stewart, whose comedy is political. but we don't have an agenda, and it's funny and do you feel like you have an agenda? do you feel like you have a role in the native american culture? or is a by-product. >> i wouldn't say that we have an agenda necessarily, except to make fun of each other in front of a lot of people, and hopefully other people find it funny. i see migszi doing the mime in front of me and behind me. >> a lot of them say you're airing our dirty laundry. and i thought that it was hilarious. it was a comedy on native americans who are deliberately exploiting these caricatures to gullible audiences and what's the
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feedback? >> west one today, somebody called to thank us for some of the content, some of the conversations that kicked off in the community. and a lot of times those coverings happen behind closed doors, and we're not always privy to them. and it doesn't mean that they're not always happening, but if our videos just initiate the conversation or make an avenue for it, or venue for it to be okay to talk about it out loud, enough. >> dallas, i want to get you in the conversation, you will mascot for money, and i appreciate the shamelessness, but a lot of times, when groups have the platform, they feel they have to be the super hero that burden? >> i guess somewhere in the back of my mind when i'm dreaming i do, but i try not to. i think that it's too much
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pressure, i think that you put too much on yourself if you try to take all of that on your shoulder. and i think that's why we make fun of ourselves. >> and you're using comedy because you're dealing with a lot of stereotypes and baggage, and talking about stereotypes and how native americans appear in hollywood and talking about twilight because that's a natural progression check this out. >> we're going to do an audition with everyone first, your indian stuff, right? cultural stuff, anything. you guys dance? [ yelling ]
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consider this. the news of the day plus so much more. answers to the questions no one else will ask. >> it seems like they can't agree to anything in washington no matter what.
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♪ >> welcome back, we're talking with a native american group, 1941. and stereotypes represent their work. that was a great represent video. and stereotypes seem to be a great creative resource for your work. the native americans in pop culture is one of stoyism.
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29% are in poverty the high of the of any racial group. and you have a platform of comedy. how are you using these platforms to transform this image into something more inspiring and hopeful? >> basically, we're trying to put the lens on our perception. on how the outside world sees native america. there are a lot of limitations all throughout. and it's hard to quantify the good things that people are doing on the reservations, and what we try to do is bring that positive spin to the outside world. so people aren't just focused on all of the terrible things, or that native americans themselves are not just focused on the terrible things that are going on on the reservations or the urban communities, or wherever native americans exist.
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that we aren't focused on the fact that we're a dying and lost culture. it's a horrible, horrible perception, and it brings with it a sense of self-defeat. and we are not defeated and we will never be defeated. we just try to do that. and the best way to do that is to bring to a population that has been marginalized and the humor. >> students from dartmouth and yale, who happen to be great students, and when we see movies, native americans have gone mainstream. you're in twilight and new moon, and johnny depp played you in lone ranger, but you guys are going up against the cultural baggage. talk to us about the psychological and cultural effects on native americans in the communities.
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>> i had a great discussion on roger cummings, who runs an urban art group. and one of the points that he had made to me was really interesting. he said that the reason that he was doing what he was doing with -- it's a public art group that also employees architecture. he was trying to change the face of his own community to raise, i guess the spirits of the people that are in that community. because when you see yourself reflected in something, then you tend to follow what those expectations are that you're growing up with. and when we see johnny depp playing an indian all over tv, then people are thinking that's all right. and that becomes the social norm. not that it has become a social norm, but it reinforces something that already existed. >> if you could take a dell overrian time machine and give
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him advice? what would you say. >> if i had to talk to johnny depp two years ago about playing tonight oh, i would take wrigley and have a throw-down. >> massive throw-down, right? >> yeah, very passive. >> we put on a question on native americans. >> i want to throw this to you. is there a particular stereotype
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that gets under your skin more than any other? >> yes. there are a bunch of them, but the free taxes thing, i wish that were real. >> don't we all? >> i think in particular, i think just the idea of what the comment was about, we're a dying race or a dying people. we are five nations, each with languages, cultures, and all sort of lumped into native american. and the idea that we're one lumped thing that is all sort of dying out is bunk. >> ryan, one of the things that we were talking about. when you look at these movies, native american men are always apparently stoic, and they don't smile. and they don't use and or the. and can you use the concept of cheekiness for us?
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>> it's the equivalent of the biblical holy roller version of an indian man. so he's supposed to be shirtless, and pretty much supposed to look like bobby wilson, except for more handsomer. he needs to be able to kill a deer just by asking the deer to die before him. he gets to have sex whenever he wants. there's no crime, there's no -- he's got like five wives, or he thinks he should have five wives. or then he has one wife, and then there's one in another town that they don't know about. he probably runs for political office, at the gets up and talks too much and he never shuts up, kind of like i'm doing right now, i'm being chiefy. >> when it comes to chiefiness, how does it affect young men in particular?
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young native american men? >> there's this perception that has been so prevailing about native americans, that even the young people have come to accept them. the chief, being the warrior guy, that's one of our goals, like the subliminal goal of the 1941s, the challenge of how we created ourselves as native american people, specifically as native men. and we try to challenge it as often as we can. and i think that it goes to the whole purpose of building and encouraging a stronger, more sustainable indian country, and a stronger and more sustainable nations. so i think its something that's really important to us as a group, to constantly push the limit as what it means to be a native person. and you asked specifically, what it means to be a native man.
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>> and there are also native women. take it away. >> we put out a psa about violence in the communities. >> for every 1,000 native women in the district, 330 will be sexually assaulted. 88% of the perpetrators will be non-native. and not all champions are leaders and not all leaders are men, just like not all kisses are wanted and not all laws are consensual. they trespass our body like they trespass this land. in the corner of a hud home, in the back seat of a car, and in every corner of every government, we fail them. >> so bobby, you guys do a lot of funny stuff, and at the same time, you do a lot of serious stuff like this, and what inspired you to take this to the community, what hit you to do this? >> well, you know, what we do, a lot of what we do, i guess you
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could call it art is a reflection of life. so you have to be able to address the stuff that's going on in the communities, at the same time trying to maintain some degree of happiness and realize that we're lucky to live life. but when it comes to domestic violence in particular, i think its something that we have all witnessed in our group. i myself, i lived in battered women's shelters with my family for a number of year. my father was an abuser, so when we do stuff like this, it comes out of experience, and a need to also express those things, and to kind of draw people out to be able to tell their own stories, and express these negative things that have hanked an happened and be able to express, it's a good life, man.
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>> political realities, the 1491s brought visibilities to the occupy wall street move. >> we have some land in trust that's off the reservation, so we were able to get a casino started. i'm very proud of it. i named it myself. it's called the greedy eagle casino, and we thought that the opportunity would come when the occupy movement came in. but it turned out that the occupy movement wasn't really concerned with our move. >> we don't get along with the wall street protesters because they're white, and i'm definitely not white. >> al jazeera's investigative unit has tonights exclusive report... >> from coast to coast... >> people selling fresh water for fracking... >> stories that have impact... >> we lost lives... >> that make a difference... >> senator, we were hoping we could ask you some questions about your legal problems...
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>> that open your world... >> it can be very dangerous... >> i hear gunshots... >> the bullet came right there through the widdow... >> it absolutely is a crisis... >> real reporting... >> this...is what we do... >> america tonight, only on al jazeera america.
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al jazeera america.
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>> welcome back, we're talking with the native american comedy group, the 1941s, using comedy to change cultural perceptions. when the obama administration used geronimo as the code name for killing osama bin laden, they said this. >> student. >> geronimo was not killed in pakistan. oakland. >> he's alive in a single mother. >> who talks to her kids in indian because she won't give up. >> he lives in the indian. >> dallas, i want to go to you with this. with great power, you have a platform now, and do you think that you're using that responsibly, the miss word of
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the word, geronimo, and specifically with occupy wall street. >> it depends on the viewer, you, are we using it responsible? i feel in the instance of what happened with the geronimo and osama bin laden, we saw it as a need to respond, but not with a negative vibe, but with postivity. there's that misconception that we spoke about earlier, in the state, native american people don't exist, and we're a monolithic culture, all lumped in together, ig in the past. so we want to take a moment with a callout for all of these diverse places of indian country, they may think your dead, but we're all in this together. and i think there's power in that. there's
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a strong inherent power of acknowledging each other. >> i know our community is giving pushback: so ripe, now often do you come across this pushback for the kinds of things that you do? do a lot of people find it funny and not offended by it? >> yeah, but we don't really -- you know, as a group, we found this when we first
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started making videos, and as a group, what we have been able to establish with the people that we have been with on a regular basis, and we have been able to establish those rues. and as a group, more similar to the ones within our communities, with each other. and like we have always said, what we do isn't new. nothing that we're doing is different. but what we're doing, the only thing we're doing different is we're getting stuff out to everybody, and my continually pushing stuff out and engaging people after we put it out, a lot of times we put something out that's really funny and we have somebody come in and get super serious about it. but we kind of trained most of the people that engage with us to kind of realize that this is something that you should laugh about. you give yourself the permission to laugh.
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it's all right, nothing bad about it. just calm your ass down. >> how would you see yourself as trailblazers for the young generation? >> i think if anybody watches and goes out and picks up an iphone or a flip cam, or whatever it is, if they go out and do something, we have done a good thing. i think that is best and coolest thing that we could possibly do. >> thank you to the 1491s. all of our guests. red corn and dallas. until next time, you can find us all at aljazeera.com/ajamstream. until next time, we'll see you online.
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>> ♪ ♪ >> >> two weeks on and frustration boils over again as the search for the missing malaysian airliner intensifies. >> hello, welcome to al jazeera, live from our headquarters in doha. >> also ahead - russia celebrates and international monitors attempt to mediate as moscow tight eps its hold -- tightens its hold over

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